Archive for substitute teaching

2010-2011 school year: day eighty five

Posted in substitute teaching with tags , on April 5, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I’m thinking about doing a mini-comic about substitute teaching, sort of a “How To” guide. If you have any questions or comments on substitute teaching, please leave ’em in the comments. The mini is something I’m looking to work on during the summer months.

2010-2011 school year: day eighty four

Posted in substitute teaching with tags on April 4, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

My thanks to my readers for indulging me last week with all the not-teaching posts!

old teaching comics!

Posted in comics with tags , on March 31, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Yes, it’s time once again to dip back into the almost decade worth of journal comics I’ve drawn and show off some ancient, badly drawn (or, more badly drawn than now, I guess) comics about teaching! All of these are from my substitute teaching days, back in 2003-2004.

I loved this moment for a few reasons. Firstly… Nickelodeon had started airing Full House in the afternoons, when most of the middle school/elementary school kids were just getting home from school. This meant there was a whole generation of kids who were familiar with TGIF-level comedy. Incidentally, this strip can be read as either a compliment or an insult, depending on how you feel about Dave Coulier.

Even though this happened at a middle school, the same thing happens in high school. A lot of young people either see you as YOUNG (all capital letters) or OLD. If you’re OLD, you’re just old. Age is just a number, after all. For the record, I would have been like twenty three when I drew this comic.

Ok, one more:

I still remember that young lady, almost a decade after the fact. She had such a great, vibrant personality.

blast from the past, part… what is this, 4? i forget.

Posted in comics with tags , , on April 15, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

You get two today, because I love you. Also, I have two comics scanned and I already have some doodles to post tomorrow… but mostly, I love you.

Another substitute teaching strip from the beginning of my career. Honestly, if you’re a music teacher, I’ll write you a terrific lesson plan right now, if you’re planning on calling in a substitute teacher:

1. Get the movie Fantasia on DVD (You may also get Fantasia 2000, if you’d like).

2. Have substitute teacher show Fantasia to class, full well aware of the fact that very few substitutes have ANY knowledge about musicality and how to play the piano.

So endeth the lesson plan.

Again, another comic from my year teaching sixth grade in Brooklyn in 2005. I have to say, although I have real appreciation for all of my students, but there was just something special about my class in 2006. Perhaps it was just that my first year teaching was (pun intended) an education in what it takes to run a classroom, because I’ve never had a better bunch of kids.

In other words… my second year of teaching was the first year that I actually GOT to teach. The kids in this class graduated from middle to high school last year, and it broke my heart a little bit that I couldn’t go back and see them one last time.

blast from the past, part 3

Posted in comics with tags , , , on April 14, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

…and it’s true. I’m still not a great fan of manga. I do my best to keep up with popular books for the sake of my library, but I’ve never found a manga series that I could really get into.

In the last few weeks, (thanks in no small part to The Middletown Journal article about my classroom) I’ve been asked a lot of questions about creating a comic/graphic novel library for their classrooms. I don’t think I need to say that I am, by no means, an expert on the subject. I do, however,  have a lot of experience with what kids do and do not like in this genre. I thought I’d take some time today to point potential classroom librarians toward some rather good deals I’ve found in the past week or so.

If you’re willing to part with a bit of your own money, Barnes & Noble seems to have a quite a few comics on sale in their Bargain Bins for about 75% to 80% off of cover price. Further, they’re having a “Buy Two Bargain Bin Books, Get The Third For Free” offer on their website right now. If you’re looking to start a comics lending library, they quite a bit to choose from. I thought I would take a few words to highlight some of the good ones.

Marvel Adventures Iron Man: Volume 1- Heart of Steel

Marvel Adventures Hulk, Volume 1: Misunderstood Monster

The Marvel Adventures imprint was created with the intent of producing fun superhero stories that are (more or less) continuity free and designed for young readers. These digest sized reprints look and feel like traditional manga comics. These are essentially easy reader superhero comics, rewriting older classic plots for new audiences. It looks as though B&N is liquidating a lot of their Iron Man and Hulk digests, likely overstock from the 2007 movies featuring the characters.

These would be decent comics to put in the hands of very low level readers, while at the same time being the type of book that a kid who does needs a lot of help independent reading wouldn’t feel embarrassed taking out on the bus and reading. With Iron Man 2 coming out in May, I’ve had many students ask me about Iron Man material, so I’m planning on picking up a couple of those books for my classroom. At $2 dollars apiece, you can’t go wrong.

Runaways, Volume 4: Escape to New York

Runaways, Volume 7: Live Fast, Die Young

A undisputed hit amongst my students, Marvel’s other digest-sized offerings on B&N’s website are two of the seven Runaways collections. Runaways is a Marvel Comics series began in 2003 by writer Brian K. Vaughn. The book’s wonderful hook is this: What if you found out your parents were super-villains? What would you do? How would you react? These small volumes require almost no knowledge of what came previously in the series and Vaughn’s great with being able to fill in the gaps of what you missed with dialogue is pretty masterful. If you were only going to pick up one of these collections, I’d recommend Volume 4, which features a trip to the Big Apple and appearances from a lot of Marvel Comics’ heavy hitters. Like the Marvel Adventures digest, they’re $3 dollars each.


A good, durable hardcover for a classroom library, Killraven is a sci-fi sequel/re-imagining to H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, starring a warring gladiator who takes up arms against the Martian race sometime in the future. I’m always looking for “gateway comics”, graphic novels I can use to bridge reluctant readers from comic books to full-on novels and stories… and Killraven fits that bill. I have a student right now who, after reading Killraven, insisted on picking up War of the Worlds so that he’d know all about what had come before.

The story and art chores on this book come from the pen of talented comics creator Alan Davis and are really wonderful to look at. It’s also nice that this is a complete story under one cover. While it gives hints and notes about what COULD happen in future stories, it also gives a nice, definitive end to the tale as well. B&N also has Marvel’s March to Ultimatum in hardcover. I can’t really recommend that except to say that their hardcovers withstand a lot of wear and tear, and if you’re looking to pad your library with books that will stand the test of time, you could do worse… and at $5 bucks a pop, you can’t get a better price.

Michael Chabon Presents… The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist, Volume 1

Another really good “gateway” comic, moving a reluctant reader from these short stories about the escape artist superhero to Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This is a really good introduction to that novel with stories by Glen David Gold (Carter Beats The Devil) and Chabon himself, among others. It’s a nice package, and at $4.50, you can’t go wrong.

There are plenty of other comics library deals to be had here if you look, including quite a bit of that manga of which I’m not so fond. If you’ve ever thought about dipping your toes in the waters of including comics and graphic novels in your classroom’s lending library, this is a good, inexpensive way to do so.